The offseason coaching carousel continues to churn this summer at the University of Wisconsin, as the Badgers added a new men's tennis coach and lost long-time softball coach Karen Gallagher.
Greg Van Emburgh, a former assistant at Kentucky, replaces Pat Klingelhoets at the helm of the struggling men's tennis program. After finishing 8-14 overall with a 2-8 mark in conference play this past season, Van Emburgh's task is to engineer a turnaround.
"I think we can turn this team around," Van Emburgh said. "I think we can do a lot of things with what we have, and obviously I'm going to be hitting the recruiting really hard and I look for us to only go up from day one."
"He has a good reputation among the tennis circles and he was a great competitor in his own right playing on the tour," women's tennis head coach Patti Henderson said. "He loves tennis and he's absolutely passionate about it. And I believe he'll bring that love for the game — that experience he has as a player and a coach [to Wisconsin]."
At Kentucky, Van Emburgh played a key role in assembling a team that finished in the top 15 nationally in each of the coach's four seasons with the Wildcats. Though he will assume head coaching duties for the first time next season, Van Emburgh believes his experience at Kentucky has prepared him to make that transition.
"The last four years I've been really involved in this program (Kentucky) at every level," Van Emburgh said. "I've done most of the recruiting — I brought in a bunch of top guys. I've been involved with the program at every level, so it's not going to be anything new for me or different."
Van Emburgh, who said Wisconsin was always on his "radar screen" while he was at Kentucky, believes the Badgers can become a top-20 team within a few years. "I think I know what it takes to form a top team," said Van Emburgh, who spent more than 10 years on the ATP tour before turning to coaching. "I know what guys to recruit, I know how to format the team, I know where I need players one through six, I know how to structure the best doubles team."
Meanwhile, a search is underway for Gallagher's successor following the softball coach's June 24 resignation.
"It is time for a new chapter in my life," Gallagher said in a university release. Next season's squad will be the first Badger softball team to be coached by anyone other than Gallagher, who led the program from its inception in 1995.
"Karen started the program from scratch and did a number of good things in establishing some traditions for Wisconsin softball," Athletics Director Barry Alvarez said in a university release. "I want to express my appreciation for her hard work and for taking the program to where it stands today."
Gallagher retires with a 271-268-2 career record, including an 85-121 mark in conference play. Her 2005 squad finished 31-24 and qualified for the NCAA tournament for just the third time in school history. The '05 team blasted a school-record 54 home runs, more than twice the previous mark.
— Mac VerStandig contributed to this report.